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First-time boaters who took baby to sea rescued.

COASTGUARDS yesterday criticised a South Wales couple who put to sea with their young child and a baby in a boat they bought just hours earlier - with little idea how to operate it.

The Swansea couple, who had never been in charge of a boat before, stalled off Mumbles and had to be towed back to land where it was found they did not have a baby life jacket on board and possibly had their VHF radio turned off.

Swansea Coastguard got a telephone call from a concerned off-duty lifeboatman after he witnessed the vessel launching from Mumbles at around sunset on Thursday.

Bev Haigh, the Swansea coastguard watch officer, said: "He said there was a young family of four on board, two adults and a young child and a baby. He also said the owner was very inexperienced and was unsure of how to put the engine in gear.

"We contacted the local Pilot Vessel Beaufort and asked the crew to investigate to ensure all was well on board. On arrival at the vessel the Beaufort discovered its engine had stalled and they required assistance back to the Knab rock slipway at Mumbles."

The Mumbles RNLI Inshore lifeboat went into action, attaching a tow and bringing the vessel to safety. The Mumbles Coastguard Rescue Team also attended and gave safety advice to the owner.

Ms Haigh added: "The owner of this vessel said he had purchased it the day before and this was the first time he had owned or operated a vessel. Given the inexperience of the owner and the fact the vessel had just been purchased, it was quite foolhardy to put to sea with two young children an hour before dark.

"We would strongly advise that people gain the knowledge required before buying a vessel and ensure the vessel is in good working order prior to putting to sea." Training and full lifesaving kit are essentials.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 9, 2011
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